While Democratic campaign committees and super PACs have held a firm advantage over their Republican counterparts in the fight for donations this year, the Christie-led Republican Governors Association has bucked the trend.
The RGA reported $70.3 million in cash on hand at the end of June, and this month began unleashing the $100 million it plans to spend on GOP gubernatorial candidates during the final 100 days of the midterm campaign. Like a super PAC, the RGA can accept donations in unlimited amounts.
The group plans to invest in voter turnout, especially on the digital and data sides, and transfer some of its largesse directly to candidates.
But the group plans to spend the bulk of its money on television advertising, and on Monday announced new ads in Kansas and Maine to shore up vulnerable Republican governors who are running for re-election. The RGA also has run ads in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, Georgia, Ohio, Michigan, South Carolina and Wisconsin.
The Democratic Governors Association raised $27 million during the first six months of 2014, roughly equal to what the RGA raised in the second three months of the year alone. However, Democratic gubernatorial candidates have been successful before in the face of a heavy RGA resources advantage. The DGA declined to publicize how much money it had in the bank as of June 30.
Notably, Iowa and South Carolina are key early primary states on the presidential nominating calendar, and Christie’s activity there as RGA chairman could pay dividends should he run for president. It remains unclear how a bridge closure scandal and other local New Jersey issues might affect his potential 2016 candidacy.